Thursday, September 29, 2016

Capturing Images The SATR Way: How I Take Shots Using A Smartphone

"Taking pictures is savoring life intensively, every hundredth of a second."~Marc Riboud
Taking photos may be easy to some, however, there's more with just taking photos. And since Surprises Along The Road is about traveling and lifestyle in which won't be complete without photos, I might as well share to you how I shoot the photos I have shared in my blog posts.

I always bring with me my phone, iPhone 5 specifically, to entertain calls and messages from my contact list, browse the internet, play games, and take pictures. Know that I'm not that kind of person who always take pictures of himself but rather prefer to fill the gallery with landscapes, portraits and any random things. I always find taking pictures of my travels and food trips fascinating for it does provide me such satisfaction. It's like a refreshment in my mind that every time I browse my gallery, the photos bring back the moments when I took it and the people I was with during those times. Don't deny, but you know what I'm talking about. :)

Since I don't have a huge camera, such that DSLR and the like, I rely on my smartphone all the time. And I'm proud that all of the images I've shared in this website were all taken using my smartphone and nothing else, not including the photos that I just borrowed. Enough of the blab, I'll be explaining to you how I take pictures using my smartphone.

In a recent trip I had which happened to be the prenup pictorial of my sister who just got married last month, I took the opportunity to take pictures of the unfamiliar place we were in, well in my case. 

It was definitely my first time at Initao-Libertad Protected Landscape and Seascape so you could imagine how I was amazed with the place. A forest that seemed untouched, so quiet that the singing birds and roaring waves are the only sounds you can hear. And there's this specific spot where I fell in love instantly.

You can get to witness this very scene at a near roofed shed, just beyond a cemented fence. I just stood there for a couple of minutes holding my smartphone, trying to figure out the perfect angle to take a picture of it. And since I am fond of balanced and symmetrical things, I focused my eyes on the horizon where the sky meet the vast sea on the background and made it sure that it is almost to perfect horizontal. And then tapped on the screen of my phone to find that perfect lighting. For a few shots, I was able to take this very shot. And my trip was fulfilled. It was really overwhelming.

Then we moved farther and arrived at a stunning cliff that was not fenced. That scene looked romantic and dramatic at the same time. Unfortunately, my smartphone's battery was drained for I wasn't able to bring a mobile bank and even forgot to bring the cord. A bit sad for I wasn't able to capture more shots that day, however, that very scene which became my favorite did satisfy me and completed my trip. I'm looking forward to visiting the place again in the near future.

So basically, I only tweak my smartphone a bit whenever I take pictures. Then I just consider the angle and the lighting, and of course the subject. You can have many shots as possible and just pick that one you think is the best among your captures.

Since DSLR is expensive in which I can't afford in the mean time, my smartphone will remain as my buddy until that time I can own one of those large cameras. *fingers-crossed

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

MBB Frozen Factory's Halo-Halo: Classic Filipino Desserts Introduced

"I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert."
~ Jason Love

Nothing beats classic Filipino desserts. Leche Flan, Maja Blanca, Yema, Buko Salad, Mango Float, Bibingka, Cassava Cake and what have you. Some of these were inspired from foreign countries yet we own them by the taste. There will always be a distinct flavor only we- the Filipinos- can bring out from a specific dessert.

To add with the long list of Filipino desserts that we grew up with, especially during special occasions, is the Halo-Halo. It is a popular Filipino dessert which portions of shaved ice, evaporated milk, and various ingredients such as sweet beans, sago, gulaman, tubers and fruits all contained in a bowl or tall glass. To effectively enjoy it, one must mix all of the ingredients well so that flavors will combine.

Last April 29, 2016, MBB Frozen Factory posted a contest promo on Facebook where one can enjoy either of their Halo-Halo or Mais con Yelo desserts. The mechanics was very easy so my friend was able to comply with it. It was necessary to tag a friend and luckily, I was chosen by my friend. To our surprise, we won together with the other participants.

Missy Bon Bon's Frozen Factory is located at the 3rd Level of Centrio Mall, near the cinemas. Sandwiched between Kenko Naicha Tea Lounge and Oro Shawarma. It is a sister brand of Missy Bon Bon which is famous with their breads and pastries, as well as their well-loved gelato. Carrying their signature gelato is MBB Frozen Factory which also offers crepes, sundaes and other cool products.

Adding to their cool dessert line-up are Mais con Yelo and Halo-Halo, both known as classic Filipino desserts. Some of which you can also buy at the streets by side vendors, and now MBB Frozen Factory is selling it, but an upgraded version.

My friend and I met right at MBB Frozen Factory's store. Our smiles that time were bigger than ever. LOL. Then my friend just showed her ID to the woman on the counter for identification purposes and then we were told to wait while they were preparing our Halo-halos. Few minutes has passed, our Halo-halos were then served, lying on top our table. What a divine sight to see. :D

In my heightened bowl, there were the sweet beans, sago, nata de coco, gulaman, kaong, ube, leche flan, sweetened saba, small wafer stick, waffle chip, langka and corn flakes, with the shaved ice under. And the superstar, ube gelato on top of them all. Same portions were given to my friend. We were delighted! :D

As what I have mentioned earlier, it would be better to mix all of the ingredients to combine the flavors. And it didn't disappoint. The milk was very creamy, and the flavor of each of the ingredients were so tasty. It really tasted like heaven in my mouth. Even uttered "yum" every time I took a spoonful of it. One last thing that also made me like MBB Frozen Factory's Halo-Halo is that the shaved ice was served with just enough portion. Like!

I'm so very thankful to my friend "Pretzel" for tagging me in her post. It also served as our bonding time. Just the right treat to keep our conversation going on. We really enjoyed the Halo-Halo.

And for that Mais con Yelo, will try it soon!

All images shown in this blog post are owned by the author.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Summer Getaway at Del Carmen, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."

~Russell Baker~
 Summer. The most awaited season among people who prefer to lay down under the sun, or chase after waterfalls, or float on beach waters, or learn new sports or hobbies, or do seasonal crafts, or just being lazy. I would like to count myself as one doing all of these during the summer, but for the latter, well sometimes. ;)

I usually spend my past summers writing songs, doing arts, mostly things that I can do at home. Yes, you heard it right. I always stay at home. But that was never a problem to me for I get to always do what I love doing. You know that feeling right?

However this year, I was able to enjoy more the summer season. Last April 30, 2016, that was Saturday, together with my officemates, we headed to Del Carmen Beach and Swimming Pool at Kauswagan, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental. An hour or 2-hour ride from Cagayan de Oro City proper.

It was an overnight outing so it did excite me a bit, knowing that I'll be able to witness the very sunset view of the place. I've always hoped to watch a sunset by the beach for the past few months already and at last, it did come true. I'll be sharing some of my captures of the sunset that I was talking about later in this post. :)

Aqua Park consisting of Trampoline, Slide, Mountain climb challenge and others
Del Carmen features two swimming pools, one is for the kids and the second is for those who can conquer a 5.5 feet deep pool. The pools are not that wide but you can still enjoy swimming in it. Also, they have a beach front with many water sports to choose from. Aqua Park (150/hour), Banana Boat (120/person), Flyer (150/person), Jumbo Dog (100/person), Whale Ride (100/person), and Bandwagon (150/person) are just some of what you can enjoy at the venue. Life vests are provided once availing any of the rides or you can rent it for P50.

I wasn't able to experience the rides for I decided not to drench and bathe until the sun sets. However, my officemates were able to enjoy the Aqua Park. That was 4:00 PM in the afternoon, where the sun is not so harsh. They said it was exhausting but sure they really enjoyed the obstacles and the rides, most especially the trampoline. Wondering where was I while they were enjoying the sea? Well, I was doing my own stuff, calligraphy works. ;)

And then, the sun settled down dramatically stunning every eye that feast the view by the sea.

Who would not appreciate this kind of sunset?
Sunset shared with 'em photo-bombers
Heavy Sunset
All of the people I spent and shared the sunset with were in awe. We can't take off our eyes from the view. Then we took a couple of captures. It was very fun! Definitely the most beautiful sunset I've seen so far. :)

Later that day, I was able to go swimming at their refreshing pool. It rained for a couple of minutes so the water was freezing cold that night. But all of us were unstoppable. While at the pool, we had a worthwhile chat. Then went back to our cottage. Know that most of the time, we spent it playing with UNO cards. LOL :D

Then we slept that night. The overnight idea just meant that we'll be sleeping by the beach. :D

Early morning, I woke up then spent some me time walking by the sea side. Here are my few shots.

All images shown in this blog post are owned by the author.

On the opposite side lies the mountains
One of my favorite captures. A boatman on a calm morning.
Early swimming
Mom and child bonding by the sea
Lone bird caught in motion
All I can say is that I really had a great time at Del Carmen. A bit disappointed with the sand being black cause I was really expecting to step on white sand but nevertheless, it was still a nice venue. With complete facilities, plus their bathroom and shower rooms are very clean. Might as well compliment the maintenance staff there. 

Know that you can do grilling, bring food, buy at their store, and rent tents plus foams. Mind you that their cottages are covered with nets so flies and mosquitoes can't get inside and annoy you. How convenient could that be?

So, if ever you decide to spend a summer getaway near or a bit far from the busy life in the city, Del Carmen is definitely your best option.

Del Carmen calligraphy work by IG: @calligraphyprints

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bad Burgers CDO: Burgers That Are Bad But In A Good Way

"We all need to make time for a burger once in a while."
~Erica Durance
There are some things that are irresistible, especially when it comes to food (e.g. burger). So don't halt yourself from having your comfort food, just not too much. Like what Erica Durance said, we all need to make time for a "burger", even, once in a while.

There was once that known burger joint which offered delectable various kinds of burgers in Cagayan de Oro. Huge buns, multi-layered patties and overflowing sauces and veggies. These made the said burger joint become popular among Kagay-anons. But they are no longer to be found in the city, leaving the likes of me wondering what their burgers taste like. Not until Bad Burgers came at CDO Center Point.

Bad Burgers just recently opened to the public last February 12, 2016 at Corrales Avenue cor. Domingo Velez Street, right at the new CDO Center Point Arcade behind AA BBQ. A new addition to the burger joints in the city.

The first time I heard their name, it instantly made me curious. Why "Bad Burgers", and that how "bad" are their burgers? Silly but you can't help but ask the same questions yourself. And I heard that it has been gaining popularity in the city so there was no excuse for me not to try and visit their place. And also, to have answers to my silly questions. LOL :D

To be honest, I was excited that day when we went to the very place. I was with one of my officemates that time, with the other four to join us after an hour (different working shifts). And since we were waiting for the others, we were able to take pictures of the place and enjoy the comforting ambiance inside the resto.

All images shown in this blog post are owned by the author.

But in the next 30 minutes or so, we can no longer help ourselves from hunger. LOL. With all the other customers who already had their orders, we felt the need to order already so we won't be kicked out of the resto from not having any food in our table. But really, that's what we felt that time so we ordered ahead.

We had their French Fries, and Cheesy Bacon Mushroom. Irresistible as they look, I excitedly took slices of the burger to try to taste it. Man, the burger was juicy and the bun's softness was just right, not chewy and not hard. Though their fries tasted just same with the other restos and fastfood chains, still it satisfied the inner french fries lover in me.

Bucketfull of French Fries
Cheesy Bacon Mushroom  Burger
Later, our officemates arrived, surprised that I wasn't able to suppress my hunger. LOL. Anyways, they ordered Hawaiian with Cheese Burger, Beef Taco, another bucket-full of French Fries and a Triple Threat Burger.

Beef Taco
Hawaiian with Cheese Burger
I wasn't able to take a picture of the Triple Threat Burger but I can assure you that it was big with 3 juicy patties.

It was my first time to indulge such a huge burger. Plus, it didn't disappoint my taste buds. Even eating half of the burger is already satisfying. I must say it was really a bad burger. I mean bad, that it was good.

SO tell me honestly. You're craving for such burgers at this moment, right? Head on to Bad Burgers today and make sure to bring with you your family and friends.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bigby's Cafe and Restaurant Cagayan de Oro: Celebrating Their 17th Year Anniversary with an All-Out Buffet

Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.
~Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
 Last year 2015, I was able to get a free Banana Fanna from Bigby's Cafe and Restaurant after subscribing to their recently launched and official website Bigby's Cafe. It is a fried sugar coated banana (saba) that was sliced like a fan drizzled with syrup and topped with vanilla ice cream. It tasted like heaven partnered with their Strawberry-Mango Shake. And that was also my first time to enter their restaurant in Centrio Ayala Mall. I did take my time there, enjoying the dessert all by myself. Hoping that I'll be able to get another taste of that Banana Fanna one of these days. *fingers-crossed :D

And just last Last December 8, 2015, they celebrated their 17th year anniversary. In line with their celebration, they offered a buffet for all of its loyal and first-time customers. And that time, I, along with my other 2 friends went for the buffet.

I took the opportunity to take pictures of the interior that was adorned with pieces that will take you to the other parts of the world.

No doubt many Kagay-anons and even celebrities and foreigners drop by and spend quality time at Bigby's to enjoy their great food.

In the above picture is the spot that can be seen at the far left of the restaurant. It is my favorite spot where I got to enjoy their Banana Fanna for the first time. (This specific dessert really left an impression to me. :D)

Photo Source: Bigby's Cafe and Restaurant FB page
Photo Source: Bigby's Cafe and Restaurant FB page
Photo Source: Bigby's Cafe and Restaurant FB page
Photo Source: Bigby's Cafe and Restaurant FB page
Photo Source: Bigby's Cafe and Restaurant FB page
Photo Source: Bigby's Cafe and Restaurant FB page
Anyways, going back to the buffet day, not long before more guests arrived who were also thrilled about Bigby's buffet, my friends and I did take our food by turns so as not to leave our table unattended. The above pictures were some of the menu displayed for the buffet, and I just grabbed those pictures from Bigby's Facebook page since I felt shy taking pictures on that day (other guests might get annoyed if I pursued taking pictures that time LOL. And here's what consisted my plate. :D

And since I'm not a regular customer of Bigby's, I am not familiar with the dishes they served during the buffet. But looking at the portions, there you can see slices of calamares, carbonara, lechon manok, fried chicken... and others. LOL

That was my first plate but I took another round, and more of fruits and desserts. Man, that was the most satisfying dinner I had in my life.

I also got to share some quality chitchats with my 2 friends that time. Seemed they also enjoyed the food as well as the ambiance. I couldn't agree more to them.

The next time, I would like to try their Titanic Ice Cream since it's already summer time. I'm also intrigued with their Rack-a-Bye Baby Back Ribs since theirs are the most talked about. And to that Banana Fanna, I'm eyeing on you. :D

All images posted in this blog post are owned by the author.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Boy Zugba Cagayan de Oro: Early Christmas Treat Through Their Eat-All-You-Can Buffet

You don't need a silver fork to eat good food.

~Paul Prudhomme
 I can never say no when it comes to food, unless I've tried it before and that it tastes bad. That's the time it'll be a no. But not with Cagayan de Oro's popular kusina bisaya, Boy Zugba. Located at Corrales Avenue corner Ramon Chavez Street.

This was my first time at Boy Zugba, and have never been too excited. Ever since I've known that they do have a Trivia Night every Tuesdays, I've always wanted to participate. Knowing that the winning team gets GCs so that was another reason. LOL. But really, their food looks great too so I guess the food must taste good too. Fast forward, after we bought tickets a day before November 20, 2015, finally I got to enter the restaurant.

It was Boy Zugba's advanced celebration for the upcoming Christmas season offered for it's customers. For that, the whole resto was adorned with jolly and colorful christmas decors.

By the time I was already at my seat, I instantly felt like it's a home away from home. Inviting and surprisingly, colorful but still calm in the eye. I was with my officemates that time, so I wasn't worried being with a crowd of buffet-goers that I don't know.

We were waiting for my other officemates to arrive when suddenly, we felt hungry. So we dived the buffet for we can no longer wait for them. LOL.

These were some of the menu on Boy Zugba's buffet.

Fresh Lumpia
Cucumber, tomato, unripe mango cubes
Pinakbet, Bihon and Shanghai Lumpia
Chicken Inasal
Cheesy Chorizo

All images posted in this blog post are owned by the author.

Cassava Cake
Assorted fruit slices
I didn't make myself confused on which dishes to choose, but put them all on my plate. Wait up! I only took small portions though. :D

My plate looks like the one above. I told you, I only took small portions. LOL. Until all of my officemates arrived and one by one they also took their buffet plates. 

I should say, I was really full that time. Man, I did enjoy the cheesy chorizo the most and it was my super star. Then I took a lot fruit slices later that eating time.

And since there was a program laid that night, we did took our time there. We were able to witness the powerful voice of Muriel Lomadilla, one of the grand finalists of Pilipinas Got Talent Season 3, and the angelic voices of the city's pride, the Golden Friendship Choral. Much entertained when they sung the Lion King song "Circle of Life". I was very impressed big time!

Later, Boy Zugba's TGIB or Thank God It's Beernes that happens every Friday of the week, started. The hosts Jek-jek and Sig did entertain all of us through their humor and comic actions. It was a night filled with laughter. We went home with so much glee on our faces.

Image Source: Boy Zugba Facebook page
And Just last February 8, 2016, I was able to attend Boy Zugba's 1st Anniversary. And I was so glad to be able to taste their food for the second time around. I can never get enough of their chicken inasal. And all of us were serenaded by the Tamarisk Band. It was blast!:D

Until the next time Boy Zugba! :D